Santa Anita (Friday-5/19/23) By Dean Keppler


Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner

BEST BET: 5-Stlishacclaimed (Race 5)

Race #1: 2-Snapp Daddy goes second time blinkers today after a slow start and wide trip in first turf try on April 28 and can improve off that effort this afternoon for trainer Peter Eurton. The colt switches to Maldonado who has a couple recent grass wins for this barn and sharp bullet drill on May 13 indicates he’s on the improve. 5-Devil Moon has had several chances to break through the maiden ranks accumulating five 2nd place finishes from his last 6 starts. He’s earned the strongest turf Beyer speed figures in the field; makes 3rd start off the mini-freshening and shows a “best of 70” 4-furlong bullet drill on May 13. He’s tough to endorse with much confidence, however, based on likely short odds and his habitual runner-up finishes. We’ll try and beat him in the Friday opener. First time gelding 8-Zafiro Anejo is in for a tag off a 11-month layoff for new barn off a modest worktab. His breeding suggests he should take to the turf. He adds Lasix today and Franco has had success riding for this barn.

Selections: 2-5-8

Race #2: 1-Shvere Arbeter has good early zip and the rail and looks to make it back-to-back wins on the class hike for trainer Sergio Morfin. The 5-year-old mare owns the field’s best last out main track Beyer. 3-Flatterwithjewels finished behind top choice in last and there could be a repeat of that outcome again this afternoon. 4-Renegade Princess ships in from Turf Paradise for trainer Peter Eurton seeking 3rd straight score. This mare has worked well over the track and could fall into a nice stalking trip if the top two lock horns early on.

Selections: 1-3-4


Race #3: 6-Defensor Fortis makes initial start for trainer Jonathan Wong who is 5 for 19 (26%) with a $3.18 ROI with turf debut runners the past 3 years. The colts Golden Gate works are solid and he’s by Air Force Blue who was a multiple Grade 1 winner overseas. The colt draws well and can beat this modest looking Maiden group at first asking despite sire’s 1 for 57 record with 3-year-old and up debuting offspring. 1-Bronko Nagurski returns off a 10-week freshening for trainer Steve Miyadi and pair of prior turf efforts over the winter were not awful. He fits well here. 4-My Ransom is making start number 13 today but moves back to turf where he’s run some of the field’s top turf figures and he certainly has the most experience in this field.

Selections: 6-1-4

Race #4: This is a tricky N2L $32K claiming sprint for fillies and mares. Trainer Steve Knapp has a pair of runners represented. 2-Fried Asparagus has yet to return to his sharp winning form he showed in fast closing Del Mar debut score last September, but she returns off the mini-freshening; moves back to the main track and gets some class relief. Her stablemate 6-Lov U Mean It has also been disappointing since Maiden main track win last June but also goes turf to dirt today on the class drop and can spring to life in this weak field. 1-Modera was no match for runaway winner Pequena Tormenta on April 21 but makes her second start off the bench today; drops in class and draws the rail with some decent positional speed.

Selections: 2-6-1

Race #5: 5-Stylishacclaimed showed some life late after a tardy beginning on April 28 debut when moving with determination through the lane eventually galloping out past the race winner Barely Functional. This gelding is by multiple Grade 1 turf winner Acclamation and this barn typically runs their horses into shape. Improvement likely. 2-Uncle John is eligible to move forward in career start number two after a slow start and racing greenly on April 1 unveiling. The Eurton barn is super-hot right now and has strong second time starter stats. 7-Infiniteexperience makes first start for Hess barn off a 6-month layoff and the colt’s three prior starts at Remington were average at best. He goes dirt to turf today, however, and is bred to handle the surface change as his sire Boisterous was a Grade 1 winner on grass. The barn reaches out to go-to veteran rider Kent Desormeaux which is usually a positive sign.

Selections: 5-2-7

Race #6: 5-Excel Calculator returns protected off the Steve Knapp claim after just missing the show spot in solid try on April 7. The 3-year-old gelding has returned to work well in the a.m. since that encouraging effort and barn is 7 for 30 (23%) with a $3.83 ROI with 1st off the claim runners routing on dirt. 8-Ever a Rebel is bred to handle the stretch-out this afternoon for trainer Phil D’Amato after firing a bang-up second off the 3-month layoff in most recent start on April 23. A pair of works since then indicates the colt remains sharp. 1-Looks Rare battled determinedly up close to the lead before surrendering late at this level in most recent start for Team O’Neil earning a solid figure and makes second start off the bench this afternoon.

Selections: 5-8-1

Race #7: The multiple graded stakes placed 6-Sell the Dream returns from Golden Gate off a 3rd place stakes effort when making her first start off the mini-freshening for trainer Brian Koriner. She adds Lasix today and just missed in the California Cup Oaks two-back over this turf course going a mile. Her stablemate 5-Court Snort hasn’t been out in 7 months but has proven she can fire off the bench and her 2-year-old turf form was solid. 1-Golden Again draws the rail with an improving Beyer pattern and shows a solid 4-furlong drill on May 13. This filly is likely to work out a favorable ground-saving journey with her advantageous inside draw.

Selections: 6-5-1

Race #8: 7-Chief Council hasn’t shown much thus far but stretches out today on the big class drop into Maiden Claimers and is a strong gate-to-wire threat with Maldonado back aboard. His sire Into Mischief gets 19% with dirt route runners. 2-Donttestyourluck has run back-to-back decent efforts since dropping to this level in both April starts and switches to hot rider today. 5Ice Storm returns at a career low level off the 8-week freshening and figures to be a strong factor if able to replicate the 70 Beyer earned two-back going this mile trip. 3Deep River didn’t have the smoothest of trips in first grass start back in March and now returns to the main track making his second start off the layoff. He drops to this bottom level tag and switches to Rispoli who has had some modest success for this barn. A possible vertical exotics threat at likely long odds.

Selections: 7-2-5

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